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Stealing Democracy: The far-left ACORN, America’s most notorious activist network, is working to bring about radical change by creating chaos, by Matthew Vadum (Townhall Magazine, August 2009)

Stealing Democracy: The far-left ACORN, America’s most notorious activist network, is working to bring about radical change by creating chaos, by Matthew Vadum (Townhall Magazine, August 2009)

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Published by Matthew Vadum
This article is Stealing Democracy, by Matthew Vadum. It appeared in the August 2009 issue of Townhall Magazine and is posted online with the publisher's kind previously granted permission.

Matthew Vadum (matthewvadum.com) is the author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011).
This article is Stealing Democracy, by Matthew Vadum. It appeared in the August 2009 issue of Townhall Magazine and is posted online with the publisher's kind previously granted permission.

Matthew Vadum (matthewvadum.com) is the author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011).

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Published by: Matthew Vadum on Jun 27, 2012
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05/13/2014

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26 
TOWNHALL
August 2009
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Cracking ACORN
 
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kicker
August 2009
TOWNHALL
 
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Cracking ACORN
The far-left ACORN, America’s mostnotorious activist network, is workingto bring about radical change bycreating chaos.
Mart Alliance for Reform Now, whichsupports organizing unions in Wal-Martstores), ACORN Housing Corp. Inc.(arranges mortgages), Living WageResource Center (tracks efforts by citiesand states to raise the minimum wageabove the federal standard), two “social justice” radio stations in Arkansas andTexas, Project Vote (voter registrationand mobilization), Service EmployeesInternational Union (SEIU) Locals 100(Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas) and 880(Illinois, Indiana), Site Fighters (fighting“big box” chains such as Wal-Mart andTarget), and American Institute forSocial Justice (publishes
 Social Policy
 magazine with ACORN Institute Inc.and the
Organizers’ Forum
). It alsooperates a handful of “social justice”high schools in New York and California.Trying to tell ACORN backers what you really think of the ACORNnetwork is a surefire recipe for disasterat a fancy Georgetown dinner party.In many cases you can expect to be vilified as a mean-spirited, anti-socialmiscreant who hates the poor and fearsminority groups. ACORN spokesmanScott Levenson was booted off FoxNews’ “Glenn Beck Program” forimplying during a break that the host was racist for criticizing ACORN.This vitriol is understandable because, in the hierarchy of progressiveactivist groups, the 39-year-old ACORNsits atop Mount Olympus, unassailable because its motives are viewed aspure. It may have many flaws, butto its admirers, the fact that it is soregularly attacked by conservatives andRepublicans means it must be doingsomething right.But what gullible liberals such as ACORN donors Roseanne Barr andBarbra Streisand don’t know—or seemunwilling to admit—is that ACORN is atimes by ACORN was indicted in June by a grand jury for fraudulent voting.This is significant because ACORN haslong claimed that the illegal casting of  ballots is a myth. The Ohio prosecutorcontinues to probe ACORN.ACORN frequently claims to be a victim of GOP persecution but that lie won’t work this time: All of the officialslaying charges in the three statesare Democrats. ACORN also loudly proclaims its nonpartisan status, butthat’s nonsense. ACORN works forand endorses only Democrats. Duringlast year’s primaries, the Obamacampaign paid $832,598 to CitizensServices Inc., an ACORN affiliate, forget-out-the-vote work.The activities of the ACORNnetwork, a tangled mess of interlockingdirectorates and upward of 100 affiliatedtax-exempt groups that routinely swapseven-figure checks, have long cried outfor a probe under federal racketeeringlaws. The network has taken in at least$107 million in donations and $53million in federal funds since 1993, yetit owes millions of dollars in back taxesand is eligible for up to $8.5 billion infederal funding this year.No one knows how big the entire ACORN network’s budget is. One of the reasons is that tracking housingand community development grantsadministered by the U.S. Departmentof Housing and Urban Development(HUD) is difficult. HUD oftendistributes the money to states andlocalities, which then allot the fundsto many different nonprofit groups.Getting a total financial picture wouldrequire enlisting an army of Freedom of Information Act requesters.The vast ACORN empire includes ACORN Institute Inc. (leadershiptraining for activists), W*A*R*N (Wal-In the parallel universeoccupied by many left-of-center Americans, theincreasingly controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now(ACORN) is a high-minded poorpeople’s group similar to crusadingcivil rights groups of the 1960s.They believe ACORN is a public-spirited organization that registersthe poor to vote and encouragescitizen involvement in morally uplifting projects and community development. They believe it spursproduction of affordable housing,protects tenants’ rights, keepsunjustly exploited borrowers intheir homes and rages againstpredatory lenders. They believeit fights for the rights of workers,immigrants and utility ratepayers.But it does so much more.
When the extortion and vote-fraud conglomerate ACORN isn’t busing schoolchildren to the nation’scapital to protest proposed tax cuts,it’s busy campaigning to expand thesize and scope of government, raisingthe dead from cemeteries and leadingthem to the voting booth, and promotingthe so-called Fairness Doctrine in orderto bludgeon conservative-dominated talkradio.
Although congressional Democratsrefuse to investigate ACORN, so farthis year alone voter registration fraudcharges have been laid against former ACORN employees in Nevada andPennsylvania. Nevada charges werelaid against two former senior ACORNexecutives and against the nonprofitentity itself.ACORN is also under investigationin Cuyahoga County, Ohio, after a man who was registered to vote multiple
by Matthew Vadum
 
28
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Cracking ACORN
huge multi-million dollar internationalconglomerate that is devoted toundermining democracy and thecapitalist system itself.Liberals also seem blissfully ignorantof the fact that ACORN was founded notto teach self-reliance but to encouragepoor people to get on welfare. By overloading the system, the strategy held, radical change would come to America.All of this sounds kind of like a kooky conspiracy theory, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but unlike most farfetched-soundingtheories it happens to be true.
RADICAL ROOTS
Let’s go back to the beginning.Many radical groups trace theirlineage to the 1962 Port HuronStatement, a manifesto of radicalstudents disillusioned with America.The declaration, composed largely by radical leftist Tom Hayden, assertedthe American system was beyondredemption and reform, hopelessly mired in racism, militarism andnihilistic materialism. It declared that“[t]he allocation of resources must be based on social needs” and that“public utilities, railroads, mines, andplantations, and other basic economicinstitutions should be in the control of national, not foreign, agencies.It called for greater worker controlover the economy and so-calledparticipatory democracy, but on the farLeft, the word democracy has a very different meaning than most Americansassign to it. To many of these radicals,democracy is a code word for socialism.To this end, some leftists have tried to re- brand socialism as economic democracy.Before the Age of Obama, socialistPrinceton professor Cornel West, an ACORN ally and advisor on Obama’scampaign team, wrote “Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight AgainstImperialism,” which holds that the U.S.is under the control of racist, patriarchal,authoritarian fundamentalists. West hails democracy as a concept butalso calls himself a “progressive socialist”and has written that “Marxist thought isan indispensable tradition for freedomfighters.” When West visited Venezuelain 2006, he praised its government, which has nationalized industries, jailed and murdered its opponents andthreatened the United States. West saidhe visited Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela “tosee the democratic awakening takingplace.By “democratic awakening,” West meant the transmogrification of  Venezuela into a socialist state. In other words, if radical leftists don’t end up with the political result they want, itcan’t possibly be real democracy. Westhas also, incidentally, been a longtimesupporter of the ACORN-affiliatedradical New Party.To further its war on “the system,Hayden and his allies created anorganization called Students for aDemocratic Society (SDS). AlthoughSDS became perhaps the preeminentgroup of the New Left movement, itfailed to achieve its goals and splinteredinto factions.One bloc eventually becamethe violent Weather UndergroundOrganization. The Weathermenembraced terror as a tool of socioeconomic and political changeand became especially enamored of explosives. After getting off criminalcharges on a legal technicality, two
Lef
:
ACORN founder Wade Rathke was accused by two ACORN nationalboard members of an eight-year-long cover-up of his brother Dale’sembezzlement of almost $1 million from ACORN and a
liated charitableorganizations. The two members, who were subsequently kicked o
thenational board, are hoping ACORN will be investigated by authorities andsubjected to a forensic audit.
(AP/Bill Haber)
Above:
Socialist Princeton professor Cornel West, a onetime Obamacampaign advisor, is an avid ACORN supporter who shares the group’sradical progressive worldview that calls for greater worker control over theeconomy.
(AP/Rich Schultz)

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